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Goldmine At The Bottom Of The Pyramid For Fitness Brands

Nutrition supplements is a $200 billion market worldwide, but in India it is yet to cross $2 billion

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A decade ago, a town like Meerut had only a handful of gyms, mostly run by professional bodybuilding coaches for aspiring bodybuilders. Today, the same tier-II city has over 200 gyms and fitness centers with thousands of fitness enthusiasts. This is not the case of just Meerut, it’s the story of almost all Tier II and Tier III towns in India. The growth for fitness market in non-metros has enthused plethora of fitness and wellness brands to re-strategize their marketing and distribution strategies. Praxis alliance and Yournest venture group has published a report on Sports, Fitness and Wellness (SFW) industry. The report highlights the potential of SFW market to grow to $90 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 17 per cent in India.

The Rise of the New Fitness Trend and Changing Life Equations in the Masses

Fitness has been redefined in the last decade and evolved as an important part of life. Instagram and Facebook have become new channels to show off ones healthy and fit body. Muscular physiques of celebrities and fitness icons are making the Indian masses embrace fitness, which is evident from the large social media following of celebrities like ViratKohli, Tiger Shroff, and Ranveer Singh. Amongst the masses, the majority of the population are Millennials and Gen Z, who are bringing new dimension to their lifestyle and follow the popular ‘Fit’ trend. Thanks to JIO-enabled digital growth,the aspirations and ambitions of youth have moved to next orbit.

Fitness, today, has become a community-driven activity, where every individual is enthusiastically taking lead and caring for their health. People from the middle class and poor class are becoming conscious of their fitness and that is why, not just singers and dancers, but fitness icons are emerging out of small towns across India. The upsurge of fitness and health trends has brought food, drinks, and physical activity into the center of people’s lives.

Goldmine for Fitness brands

50% of Indian population is above 25 of age, this means huge opportunities for both national and international players in Indian fitness industry to grow leaps and bounds. But meeting the demands of rural youth is not the same as the city one. Going forward brands have to either reposition the core product offering to suit the needs of bottom of the pyramid market, or come out with additional offering with affordability built-in. Distribution channels will have to be restructured to meet the demands of the hinterland. Heard about MLM?. While Curefit and other Classpass models have done well in cities, we are yet to see such uber-like business models emerge in Bharath.

Further, brands looking to spreading wings across the length and breadth of India must also look into roping regional celebrities, like how Mannapuram Gold had done. Here one size fits all doesn’t work. Soon enough, we will see many startup mushrooming the market to bite the pie as much as possible.

Increasing awareness about nutrition    

The fact that food and nutrition play an integral role in the fitness has moved the youth in the BoP segment towards nutritional supplements and health products. With increased purchasing power spending has increased not only on buying comforts, but also nutritional supplements and fitness equipment.  One look at the google trends will show you that searches like lose weight, gain weight, build muscles, gain mass, protein supplements etc, are not only coming from urbanites, its seeped into hinterland as well. A cursory study on YouTube will result in1000’s of channels on nutrition food in regional languages.

Nutrition supplements is a $200 billion market worldwide, but in India it is yet to cross $2bn. Nutrition supplements industry is led by Sports nutrition and VHM category (Vitamin, Herbs, Mineral). Protein supplements, Amino Acids and Performance Nutrition has seen massive growth in India in recent times. Thanks to increasing gyms and awareness about enhanced performance in sports like cricket, marathon races and many more. India is world capital to cardiac diseases and diabetes. Dietary supplements Industry (VHM) is growing at breakneck speed and everyday new brands are mushrooming. Omega-3 and Multivitamins are some of the top sellers in the category. Globally Omega-3 is a $10bn market, in India we are yet to see such explosion. But we are on path to achieve it in near future as slowly the food habits of Indian’s is off-tract and supplements are there to fulfill nutrient requirements.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Himmath Jain

The author is Co-founder and Director of AS-IT-IS Nutrition

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